Police on Thursday charged a father and son for intentionally damaging CPP signs in Kompong Cham province after an argument broke out with another group of men who had attended a party to celebrate Pchum Ben, officials said.
Sien Bunleang, 19, and his father, Sien Bunly, 41, were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly using hoes and sticks to tear down three CPP signs in Srei Santhor district’s Svay Por commune.
“The court decided to put them in pretrial detention. They were charged with intentional damage,” said Huot Vuthy, provincial court prosecutor.
Mr. Bunleang, from Chipor village, had been to a dance party on Monday night in Teahea village with a group of friends but they got into an argument with villagers who were having a Pchum Ben party, according to district police chief Kheng Sreng.
After the fight, the teenagers from Chipor, along with Mr. Bunly, tore down three CPP signs in the village, he added.
Mr. Sreng said that police arrested Mr. Bunleang and his father the next morning, as they were among a group of 10 people blocking a path used by Teahea villagers to access a pagoda—in Chipor—to celebrate Pchum Ben.
“The men got really drunk and [in the morning] they prevented villagers from Teahea village from visiting the wat after creating a problem by chopping down three CPP signs,” Mr. Sreng said, claiming that the issue was not political because the men were so drunk.
Police arrived and a verbal altercation ensued in which “they insulted our police, calling them ‘Yuon police’ and saying ‘why won’t you step down from power, you Yuon,’” he said. Yuon is a derogatory term for Vietnamese people.
Mr. Bunly’s uncle, Chum Phorn, said on Wednesday that his nephew and his nephew’s son were arrested the morning after the celebration, but denied their involvement.
“During the night, someone tore down the CPP signs but my nephew was not involved,” Mr. Phorn said.